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Work for a Summer or Winter in a National Park

You’ve always dreamed of working in the great outdoors and being close to nature. You’ve imagined working near the big open sky, a wide variety of animals roaming by, and just breathing in the cool, clean, fresh air. So what are the options for someone who wants to get away from the city, have a good job, and enjoy working close to nature?

Authorized Concessioners 

The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) currently has over 500 contracts with a wide range of authorized concessioners. Not including park revenues, these concessioners bring in over $1 billion annually in gross receipts. That translates into a lot of people helping to make the NPS great and enjoyable for visitors year-round.

Many employees of concessioners work in the hospitality industry providing food or lodging, while the more adventurous types provide everything from rock climbing adventures to white water rafting experiences. These concessioners are overseen by the Commercial Services Program operated by the NPS. All of the services provided are offered to enhance the NPS experience as a convenience to visitors.

By allowing concessioners in the parks, the NPS gives many companies the opportunity to work closely with NPS while helping the local economic base. Private companies join with park operators to create a memorable experience for more than 305 million people each year, and that number continues to grow.

Over 25,000 people are employed by these companies, with some jobs being year-round and many of the jobs being seasonal. Opportunities abound for college students, those who want part-time work, or anyone who enjoys the hospitality industry. Working for an authorized concessioner for the NPS is a great way for people to get experience working in the hospitality industry, and with 60 national parks to choose from, it’s easy to see why there are so many jobs available.

Job Opportunities 

The great thing about working for an authorized NPS concessioner is that you can have just about any interests and can find a job to match those interests. Have you always loved the water? Then choose a job working at the marina and be around awesome lakes during the peak summer season. Do you like helping people and making sure they are having a great time? Then try your hand at a facility that offers lodging or scenic/sightseeing tours. Looking for a laid-back gig that requires less brain power during time off from your arduous college schedule? Work at a laundry facility or refilling vending machines.

For those adventurous sorts, there are numerous gigs helping others to have the time of their lives. If you enjoy the great outdoors and have a lust for life, consider being a white water rafting guide or winter sports operator. If you love animals, the NPS might just be the perfect place for you to work in horse and mule operations. Getting to take care of these large animals can be rewarding and fun.

In addition to the jobs listed above, there are numerous other positions in a wide range of industries, such as:

  • auto and service stations
  • bath houses
  • camp grounds
  • cruise lines
  • food service operations
  • golf courses
  • guide services and outfitters
  • kennel services
  • medical services
  • parking lot services
  • photographic services
  • rental services
  • retail
  • swimming pools
  • trailer services
  • transportation
  • water transportation
  • computer tech help (wi-fi)

While not all jobs are at all of the national parks, many of them are and need help. If you are looking for a fun career helping people or just need some seasonal income, working for a concessioner for the NPS might be the perfect fit. 

Environmental Concerns 

Working for any of the NPS concessioners means you’ll be working for an employer that has to follow certain rules and guidelines when ti comes to operations. The NPS takes the environment seriously and expects the same from those working with them. Concessioners must follow all laws that pertain to protecting the environment and human health. They must also comply with best management practices in all areas encompassing operation, constructions, acquisition, maintenance, provision of visitor services, and other activities related to their contract. Concessioners are required to fully comply with all practices that relate to environmental impacts.

Is it the Right Job for You? 

For anyone who loves the majestic outdoors, wants to create a memorable experience for others, and is concerned about taking care of our environment, working for a concessioner for the NPS might just be the perfect fit. There are numerous jobs to choose from located around the U.S. in a wide range of climates for anyone’s taste. Whether you’re the adventurous type or more interested in helping people, there’s a job waiting for you.